Rogue property landlord fined £10,000 for poor state of two homes in Bradford

Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court

Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court

First published in News
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Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

THE boss of a Cleckheaton-based property firm has been ordered to pay more than £13,000 in fines and costs over a string of flaws at two of its rented homes in Bradford.

Paul Atha and his company Atha Properties Ltd were fined a total of £10,000 following a trial at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court today.

The 55-year-old, who told the court he lived in Australia, was also told to pay two £250 surcharges and £2,734 in costs.

The court heard from prosecutor Harjit Ryatt, who told that Atha and his firm, of Whitcliffe Road, had failed to comply with improvement notice imposed by Bradford Council.

The notices related to two properties - one on Barden Avenue, Buttershaw, and the other on Southfield Road, West Bowling - and were served on April 26, 2012, and October 25, 2012.

The court was told that the problems included corroded windows, damp, and mould growth.

Mr Ryatt said he also failed to interlink smoke alarms, remove polystyrene tiles from ceilings, replace cracked and broken tiling and glass, employ an authorised competent person to do an electrical safety check, replace rotten wood, investigate a source of damp, and remove and replace damaged wall plaster.

Mr Ryatt said that Atha had 18 other properties in Bradford, 14 of which were occupied, and that he made £1,662 per week from them. Atha told the court that his business made a £40,000 loss in the last financial year.

Atha represented himself because, the court heard, his solicitor was on holiday in the south of France.

He told the court that some of the required improvements were not carried out because a tenant had not wanted them done. He claimed his solicitor had a letter from that tenant confirming it.

Atha also said: "Everyone was happy apart from the Council. These houses are quite nice houses. They are not horrible like the Council has made them seem."

Ruth Hudson, a senior environmental health officer for Bradford Council, told the court that she had paid a visit to the house in Barden Avenue yesterday. She told magistrates some work still had not been completed.

Magistrates told Atha: "We do find that you did not comply with the improvement notices and we cannot find any reasonable excuse why they were not undertaken."

After the case, Councillor Val Slater, the Council's portfolio holder with responsibility for housing, said: "When a landlord rents a house they should ensure that it is in good condition and they should be prepared to manage and maintain the house so it does not fall into disrepair.

"It is unacceptable to rent a house that is in poor condition which puts the occupants' health, safety and well-being at risk. And the Council will take action against those landlords who neglect their responsibilities."

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